After a wild Wednesday that featured rain delays and shortened matches, the 2014 French Open is keeping tennis fans on the edge of their seats with exciting action in both the men’s and women’s brackets.
Fans will be treated to No. 4 seed Simona Halep and No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova in action for two marquee women’s semifinals matchups on Day 12, and the excitement over the possible final between these two players will have the anticipation climbing.
Here is the full TV schedule for Thursday’s quarterfinals action from Roland Garros:
|June 5||9 a.m. to 2 p.m.||Women’s semifinals||ESPN2|
|June 5||11 a.m. to 2 p.m.||Women’s semifinals||NBC|
|Player 1||Player 2||Court||Predicted Winner|
|Maria Sharapova||vs.||Eugenie Bouchard||Court Chatrier||Sharapova|
|Simona Halep||vs.||Andrea Petkovic||Court Chatrier||Halep|
*For the full schedule, check out RolandGarros.com.
Top Matchups on Day 12
No. 7 Maria Sharapova vs. No. 18 Eugenie Bouchard
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the 2014 French Open thus far, crowd favorite and No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova will square off against red-hot No. 18 Eugenie Bouchard in a semifinal for the ages.
Sharapova lost her first set in the quarterfinals against Garbine Muguruza (Muguruza was riding the momentum from beating No. 1 seed Serena Williams), but still managed to pull out the victory, just as she did against Ksenia Pervak, Tsvetana Pironkova, Paula Ormaechea and Samantha Stosur.
The Women’s Tennis Association’s official Twitter account shared just how dominant Sharapova has been on clay this year:
As well as Sharapova played, her toughest test will come against Bouchard on Day 12.
The Canadian player has exceeded all expectations and is living up to the hype surrounding her. At only 20 years old in the semifinals of a major tournament, that’s not a bad start.
Bouchard told Jim Caple of ESPN.com about how she wants to be perceived after such a stellar performance at Roland Garros:
At the end of the day, whether I win or lose, I want to at least leave it all there and try and at least battle. I'm proud of the way I did that in both the first and third. I wouldn't say I surprised myself, no. I have come back in matches before. You know, it works both ways. Tennis can be like that, a bit up and down. I just really tried to forget about, you know, what the score was or anything and just tried to play the right way.
Victories over ranked players like No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber and No. 14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro have given Bouchard serious confidence, but she will need to play the best match of her career if she wants to defeat Sharapova.
Using her powerful serve and unparalleled reach along the baseline, the taller Sharapova will weather the first-set storm from Bouchard and find her rhythm in the second and third sets to earn the semifinal victory.
Predicted Score: Sharapova wins, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 Simona Halep vs. No. 28 Andrea Petkovic
The highest remaining seed on the women's side is No. 4 Simona Halep, and she will square off on Thursday with No. 28 seed Andrea Petkovic. As well as Petkovic has performed thus far at the French Open, she will be no match for Halep.
Halep defeated No. 15 seed Sloane Stephens and No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova en route to a berth in the quarterfinals, but her most impressive feat at Roland Garros thus far has been the fact that she has not dropped a set in the first five rounds of the tournament.
After struggling to find a rhythm early in her career, Halep told Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated about her confidence after her recent stellar stretch of play:
I had a lot of matches, but I didn't just play small tournaments. I also played Doha, and I [reached the] quarterfinals in Australia, and Madrid I [reached the] finals. I have more confidence in me now, and I try to do my best at the Grand Slams also. I'm in quarterfinals for the second time this year. I'm happy, and I feel prepared to go more far.
Halep put together a strong finish to the 2013 season and racked up a great start to 2014 with a career-best Australian Open finish (lost in the quarterfinals), and she will be looking to turn that momentum into a Grand Slam title.
Petkovic deserves immense credit for her lopsided victory over No. 10 seed Sara Errani to earn her spot in the quarterfinals, but she will be thoroughly outmatched by the unparalleled range along the baseline of Halep.
No women's player in this tournament has been better on the serve, at returning the ball and along the baseline than Halep at Roland Garros this year.
Predicted Score: Halep wins, 6-4, 6-2
*Stats via RolandGarros.com.